Kenny Dalglish reserved special praise for Maxi Rodriguez after the Argentine netted his first hat-trick for the club during the 5-0 rout of Birmingham City.

Despite being without the injured Andy Carroll, the Reds boss brought in the former Atletico Madrid midfielder and he justified his faith with a fantastic treble.

Dirk Kuyt and substitute Joe Cole also found the net as Liverpool continued their assault to overtake Tottenham Hotspur in the race for a European spot.

"I think we were deserved winners and we played some fantastic football and we had a good day which makes it very enjoyable for us," Dalglish told his post-match press conference.

"Getting a goal early doors set us on our way and then they started to put us under a bit of pressure, although Pepe wasn't overworked.

"We then got the second goal but the third was the most important one because at 2-0 it is always a bit iffy.

"To their credit the boys continued to play some good football in the second half and they were determined to put on just as good a show as they did in the first half.

Click the image below to watch Kenny's post-match presser

"Maxi isn't a direct replacement for Andy Carroll but he has scored more goals than him just on the one performance.

"Maxi is a very intelligent footballer and the way all the boys have gone about their work in training has been a real credit to themselves and the way they have adapted to the training.

"Maxi hasn't played for a few weeks but he came in today and did a fantastic job for us.

"Wee Joe (Cole) also got his reward when he came on to score and he has been doing fantastic in training as well. Maybe the goalkeeper made a mistake but the wee man has got a goal to his name and it won't do us any harm and it certainly won't do Joe any harm either.

"The two young boys (Flanagan and Robinson) have got another game under their belt as well and we saw Jonjo Shelvey come on and do well again. We've had a good day."

Dalgish admitted he was delighted to see the hard work of his players during training pay off where it matters on the field.

He added: "I have always said the lads have trained fantastically well and they will get their rewards in the game. You can even say Jay Spearing has come back from injury as well. I know he has played a few games now but he was injured and he has done really well for us.

"Players will always play better if they are confident and also if they are happy going to work they are going to produce better results, so it's a combination of those two factors and probably a few other ones as well.

"The fact we are playing with players who know how to pass it to the same colour jersey helps and the movement is good.

"They are playing for each other and the joy they got when Maxi got his hat-trick and also when Joe scored his goal reflects how close a group they are and that's great for the football club."

Dalglish also reported that Andy Carroll will continue to have treatment on his knee this week at Melwood as he strives to be fit to face his former club Newcastle United next Sunday.

"Andy is not too bad but we will just have to wait and see how he is," he added.

"It's a big game for him next week but it's an even bigger game for the football club. It's Liverpool versus Newcastle not Andy versus Newcastle.

"If he's fit he will be considered but if he's not then someone else will get a chance - but he's not too bad."

Click the image below to watch all the goals v Birmingham

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